Sunday, October 3, 2010

Citrus: Eat, Drink and Be Local

Years ago when I was a hipster in my twenties, I lived in an apartment building on Orange Ave, just north of Colonial. The Uptown area was not much to look at then, except for the large bank building that my windows overlooked. It's nice to see the area getting a bit of attention...and I have to admit that I wish Citrus had been open when I lived across the street.

I may have been lying when I told you that I was a hipster, but I'm straight up telling you with truth when I say that I really liked this restaurant.

Citrus, along with HUE and Cityfish, is owned by Urban Life Management Restaurant Group. The Citrus website describes their concept as being "our interpretation of Florida flavors and ideas like fresh, clean, local and independent". Hence the tagline, "Eat, Drink and Be Local". I like their thinking, and even though I don't see too much evidence of local fare on their menu, I guess it's good that they are supporting the cause. The space was really magnificent. Muted tones and eye popping art work adorned the walls. The open space lent that urban downtowny feel. And I'll probably visit again just to sit in the cool bar area and have a drink.

I started off the meal with the Skirt Steak and Cheese Flatbread. The thin and crunchy crust was covered with caramelized onions, Vermont Cheddar, Manchego and a Roquefort cream. Yikes, Urban Flats has a run for it's money with the appetizer. Decadently rich with the cheese and sweet with the onions, this flatbread really worked for me. I also tried a companion's Shrimp and Lobster Fritters. I found the fritters to be average, but they were served with a refreshing mint and pineapple chutney. And, truthfully, I have always enjoyed the odd juxtaposition of a fried item served with a light and fruity item. It really tends to lighten up the heavy fried feel of the other portion of the dish.

Then I did something wild and crazy that I hadn't done in awhile: I ordered pasta. And to tell you the truth, after being pasta free for quite some time, I almost fell out of my chair when I took my first bit of this homemade Chicken Ravioli. The pasta was perfectly cooked and practically melted in my mouth. The menu had described the chicken stuffing as being smoked, but I found it rather bland. Which was really no big deal because the Black Truffle Sauce and hunks of Wild Mushrooms brought the flavor to the table. One warning: this was a huge portion. Be prepared to take some home for lunch the next day!

I finished up my meal with the appropriate Orange Avenue Cake. The not too sweet orange cake was layered and topped with silky smooth cream cheese icing and some mini white chocolate chips. The promised Grand Marnier whipped cream was the big disappointment of the night-I don't think anyone would have served that if they had tasted it in the kitchen. But otherwise I'd highly recommend this dessert....especially to those of us who still have appreciation of the good-ole-fashioned creamsicle. You know, us hipsters.

Citrus Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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